Watching crystals grow is one of the neatest science experiments to watch. Looking to see how long they take to form, if they form big or small crystals, if they form any differently than they might form on something else…endless possibilities. This experiment reminds you of what might happen when frost forms on leaves.
- Salt (preferably a whole bag/box)
- Mason jars
- Pipe Cleaners
- Clothes pins
- Leaf templates (optional)
Print leaf templates (if desired). We discovered free templates on Pinterest that we formed our pipe cleaners into leaf forms.
In a medium saucepot, heat 2.5 cups of water per mason jar. We used three mason jars equaling six cups of water.
For three or more jars, we dumped the entire contents of our salt package into the pan (the more salt you use, the better your results!) This experiment will fail if there is not enough salt used. It’s better for it to be over-saturated, as our pictures will show.
Pour the hot water into the jars. Place one leaf inside each jar. Use a clothespin to clip the leaf to the jar. You want to be sure the pipe cleaner doesn’t touch the edges/sides or the bottom of the jar.
Set your jars by a sunny area and leave for at least two days. We left ours for five. The longer they are left, the more crystals should grow. After five days, we had crystals galore! In fact our solution started oozing out of the jars it was so saturated with salt.
It was interesting to see how one leaf in particular seemed to collect a lot of “crystals” versus others (maybe there was more salt in that particular jar?) It was a good time to review our experiment and discuss what happened. Did the results match what we thought would happen? How were the results different or similar to what we thought would happen at the start? I love activities where it provokes some deep thinking to take place!
For more science experiments for kids, please check out our blog!
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Photographs and content by: Heather Kucenski